HM Courts Service

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 25th February 2015.

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Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe Labour, Bradford South

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the availability of front-of-house staff within the Courts Service to assist with the completion of official documents.

Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service administrative staff provide help to courts and tribunals users directly at court buildings and hearing centres. Help is also provided by staff at call centres and through guidance provided on-line. While HMCTS staff cannot provide any legal advice, they are able to provide general help on procedure, including, where appropriate, guidance on the completion of court documents. Depending on the circumstances staff will also signpost users to appropriate advice agencies for this purpose. Through its budgeting and workforce planning processes HMCTS endeavours to ensure all activities are resourced to meet the demands of the service.

Where a party appears unrepresented in the Magistrates’ Court, the Legal Adviser has a general duty to assist and this includes providing assistance with the completion of court forms.

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